Today I had a conversation with a client at the studio. It’s started as one of the questions I get every day: “Alex, I have a sweet tooth, what should I do?”
I get that a lot. Sweet tooth for girls, beer tooth for boys, pizza tooth at night for both… Originally my first response was something like this:
Unfortunately, the issue is more difficult than that. Just stopping the habit is not easy. Without the strategy you are most likely to come back to it, even if your initial determination is high. Some strategies proven to work better, some worse, but it’s a complex approach that works best. So, in regards to Battling the Cravings Monster here what the plan is:
1. To fight temptation successfully, stay away from temptation to begin with.
In other words, how can you fight sweets or junk food if your house is filled with it? Sweets in the vase in the living room, chips in the cupboards, cookies in the kitchen, lollipops in the bedroom, cake in the fridge? Sure, go ahead, try not to have a sweet tooth. So get rid of it all to begin with. Have you ever seen “The Last 10 pounds Boot camp” show? That is exactly what Tony Europe does first for clients – shows up at their house and accurately puts to garbage bag everything that is considered “food garbage”. No exceptions.2. Start with one habit at a time to be able to maintain the compliance level.
Examples of these “one habit at a time approaches”:
– Turn off TV at night. Or record the show and fast forward all the commercials. Did you realize how much food commercials are there, especially at night, when people have issues resisting the urge to munch on something? Out of curiosity, make a quick peak – its insane. In 15 minutes of a “Two and a Half Men” there were 4 commercial breaks with 9 different food products that are completely unhealthy. How long you think your brain will be able to say “no” to this bombarding?
– Drink water I know, you’ve heard it, it’s good for you to drink water during the day to avoid dehydration, blah blah blah… Guess what. Here is another perspective on the issue. If your body’s toxicity level is off the chart, you WILL be craving bad foods. Toxicity level of your body will disrupt normal stomach flora, less good bacteria are dealing with food, and more parasites, bad bacteria and fungi are requiring…. bingo. All the junk there is. First step to fix it – water. Why? Brilliant phrase of Paul Chek: “The quickest solution to pollution is dilution”. Dilute toxins in your body. Create enough environment for good microflora to grow, and healthy person never feels like dying for a piece of chocolate.
– Start taking fish oil or omega-3 supplement, if you don’t do already. It reduces inflammation in the body. Very big deal. Less inflammation – less stress for tissues – more health – longer and happier life.
– Have a safe substitute handy all the time. Carrots, almonds, apples, broccoli. Usually when the craving onset happens and you don’t have any food around you, you will make a bad choice. Very high chance of it. But if there is food around, there is fairly high chance that you will have no willpower to look elsewhere for cakes and chocolates.
3. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
However good on paper, it is still very difficult once the craving hits all of a sudden. But what if you plan to have a time when you are allowed to have a treat? First of all, you’ll feel like a winner, because you are controlling your body, not vice versa. Secondly, it is MUCH easier to resist the temptation. You just know that in a day or two you can have whatever you want. Even though there is no difference in calories consumed, whether that piece of cake is eaten now or on Sunday, but there is huge psychological factor that binds you to guilt feeling. Guilt feeling will lead to the cycle of abstaining from bad foods – overflowing with cravings – going loose again – feeling guilty – starting over. So harnessing that feeling is huge.
4. And lastly for today – it is a long-term processes that WILL BE WON BY YOU. As in every battle there are wins and loses, but it all comes down WHO wins the war. So don’t get frustrated easily. Persist and stick to your guns. You didn’t forget that it wasn’t always A+ at school, did you? Life is the same way – not always straight A+.